From the first day I heard The Isomers (specifically their song titled Bleed Away), I’ve been a fan of their style of music and their brand of creativity. The release of the Valentine EP on the 13th of February, 2016 was integral to both the growth of the band and the growth of the Indie and alternative rock scene in Nigeria. The first thing any keen listener will notice with this EP is the variety of lead vocals. After listening to the third track, I had to contact one of the members of the band to ask him about that. He (Seun) then told me that the EP was an experimental EP and the idea was for all four band members to take lead on at least one song with the exception of Midnight which was led by two of them. Keeping that in mind, let’s jump right into the review shall we?
The first track Picture Book begins with the acoustic guitar strumming in a staccato-like manner for the first few seconds to welcome Seun’s tenor vocals. The song has an alternative feel to it, with an acoustic indie underlying vibe that is consistent until the end. The best part though, is the chant and the lead guitar solo towards the end.
I No Get is an acoustic pop number with an afro soul blend, it is led by MonLee (who produced the EP). It’s rendered partly in English and partly in pidgin and quite possibly is the most fun song of this EP. Lyrically and even progression wise, the song reminds me of Bez. The next track, The Long Shot is an indie folk tune that brings back memories from the indie folk band The Civil Wars. The vocals are rendered by Isaac who obviously has very strong indie folk influences and although it’s the shortest song on the EP, I think it’s the most precise and most romantic in terms of lyrical content.
Midnight which arguably is the best song on the EP for me takes patience for the average listener. With a 0:58 second intro, Midnight sets the pace for a romantic evening with a lover (as the title suggests) and the band creates an almost palpable atmosphere of ambience with the perfect blend guitar strums, echoes and their signature chants. Seun and Isaac take the lead on this song and they literally take you into a different plane of existence (Disclaimer: Do not listen to this song if you’re not in a love). The EP comes to an end with I Love You (Really Do) a sing-along pop song with alternative elements. Led by Mo, it’s a song that can easily get a crowd clapping along and it was nice to hear the band swim in pop water without losing their ingenuity and sound. For me the journey through the Valentine EP was relatively smooth and I honestly believe this band has one of the biggest potentials in the Rock scene in Nigeria today.
I did have a couple of issues with the EP. The track arrangements could have been better and I believe they need a drummer urgently (even if it’s just a kick drum…). It’s an undeniable fact that this EP is a work of art true to its name and I look forward to better and bigger projects from the band. So what are y’all waiting for? Go buy it already on iTunes! Support your local bands. \m/
This review is written by Billy Praise, a guest writer and regular contributor. He’s a big lover of Indie rock and can be found with earphones on jamming away. He wrote in response to our post WE WANT YOU, TO WRITE. Check out his posts for us also on the Indie rock scene in Africa: A little peek into the Indie Rock scene… & Indie Spotlight: Introducing Egyptian Maii Waleed